By Laura Mills Foiled again! Yesterday morning, like clockwork, as soon as I finished my fifth sun salutation my daughter woke up crying. No matter how early I get up and attempt to practice, she knows…. And if it’s not my daughter crying, it’s my cat—sitting on my mat, weaving through my arms and legs, meowing until my daughter wakes up. Or else it’s the laundry…or the messy kitchen…or the bills…. My quest for a workable home practice continues; regardless of my intention, I confess I usually put my home practice last. 8 years a yogi, 5 years a [...]
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By Laura Mills No fingerprints smear the mirrors; no lumps wrinkle the bed. No lint litters the carpet. The laundry, dishes, and toys are put away. I can even navigate my way through the garage without stepping on anything. This place is pretty near perfect—but I must admit, perfection unsettles me. I had to impress if I hoped to sell my house. Prospective buyers want to see the counters, floors and other features clearly; they want to be able to picture their own belongings, not someone else’s dirty socks or half-dressed dolls, in the nooks and crannies. And [...]
By Laura Mills I admit it: I’m in denial. It should not, cannot possibly be mid-January already. Wasn’t it just Christmas? Some of my decorations are still up. And did I seriously just hear a commercial about taxes? What about my to-do items leftover from 2014…organizing the claim for my car repairs, balancing my checkbook, getting the carpets cleaned, filing away those miscellaneous papers? I refuse, absolutely, to believe we’re halfway through January already…. But I’ve said it before, and I know it to be true now: the calendar on my desk (and the one on my computer, [...]
By Laura Mills It’s easy to put myself last when gift giving. What I give myself is often hardly a gift anyway; stress, that unwelcome yet persistent part of the holidays, sneaks in and gets cozy as I list, decorate, shop, wrap, rush and socialize. Unfortunately, over the years I’ve realized I harbor a certain over-confidence in my ability to manage stress (“Stress? Never! I teach yoga, for goodness’ sake!”); at the end of the most hectic days, I consistently find that the hardest part of stress management is remembering to do it. Undoubtedly, I keep [...]
By Laura Mills Last week I attended a parent meeting at my daughter’s preschool, where I discovered that learning is based on play. I love this philosophy, that children don’t require anything elaborate or high-tech to learn new skills and make solid connections in their minds. Plain and simple: children succeed by doing what they do best, by doing what they do naturally. Since then I’ve reflected on how often I ignore the “plain and simple” in my own life. I over-think, over-plan, over-do, over-analyze…. It’s common among human beings, I think, as we rush around to check [...]
By Laura Mills This summer I’ve done all kinds of neat things—like attend a yoga retreat, spend a weekend downtown as a Chicago “tourist,” install granite countertops in my kitchen, reorganize my basement, master Mandarin Chinese, learn to play the banjo, and drive across the country—in my mind. That is to say I’ve daydreamed over and over that I made these things happen. Some of these things I’ve even wistfully discussed with friends, making them all the more delicious. Yet as of this moment each remains, well…unfinished. Some even remain un-attempted. Yep, I dream big. I make lists [...]
By Laura Mills At this midpoint of 2014, consider: how many times this year so far have you asked yourself “What next?” It’s a question that reflects our awareness of life’s constant flow…and whether we ask it with enthusiasm or exasperation reflects whether we feel we’re flowing with life or struggling against it. Lately, when I’ve thought “What next?” it’s been in the context of life’s flow feeling too fast and too strong. Time has passed, things have happened…. In posing the question again and again with a heavy sigh, I’ve admitted that that time and those [...]
By Laura Mills Me: “I have to clean the table.” H (my daughter, age 3): “Why?” Me: “Because there’s applesauce smeared all over it.” H: “Why?” Me: “Because you were finger painting with your snack.” H: “Why?” Me: “Because you like to make pictures.” H: “Why?” Me (still scrubbing): “Because that’s one of the things that’s special about you.” H: “Why?” Me: “Because that’s how God made you.” H: “Why?” Me (pause): “Because that’s what the universe needed.” H (pause): “I go play now.” [...]
By Laura Mills I dedicate today’s post to you, the person reading this. Thank you so much! Whether you are a first-time reader or someone who has followed for a while, know that I greatly appreciate your attention. I have always felt that the words I write flow so much more easily than the words I speak; just as my yoga mat is the place I best physically express myself, the page (or screen) is the place I best verbally express myself. You honor me by spending time reading this expression. Over the years I have written a [...]
By Laura Mills These days, my meditation practice usually consists of one solid sitting early each morning, after I do some sun salutations and before I prepare for the rest of the day. I sit cross-legged in the middle of my unlit living room, facing the windows, and I close my eyes and focus on my breath. The house and neighborhood are still and quiet except for early-morning crickets and birds; whatever thoughts arise I easily let float away into the semi-silence. Usually…. One recent day I felt the need to meditate in the middle of the [...]